GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Second baseman JaCoby Jones and designated hitter Alex Edward each drove in a pair of runs Thursday night, and Nick Goody preserved a one-run lead in the ninth inning to lift seventh-ranked LSU to a 7-6 win over top-ranked Florida at McKethan Stadium.The teams resume the series at 7 p.m. ET Friday.
Sophomore right-hander Kevin Gausman will start Friday's game on the mound for LSU, while the Gators will counter with sophomore right-hander Jonathon Crawford.
Sophomore right-hander Kurt McCune (2-3), starting his first game since March 11, earned Thursday's win on the mound by working five innings and limiting the Gators to two earned runs on seven hits with no walks and no strikeouts.
"A great win for our team in which we got contributions from everyone," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We continue to find a way to win the close games, which are so common in our league. I thought we competed extremely hard, and Kurt McCune gave us exactly what we needed on the mound. We played with a lot of confidence and we need to keep building on this momentum."
LSU is now 6-2 this season in SEC games decided by one run.
LSU grabbed a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning Thursday as the Tigers sent eight batters to the plate against Florida starter Brian Johnson. Shortstop Austin Nola delivered an RBI single and Edward produced a two-run single to highlight the outburst.
The Gators plated two runs in the bottom of the second as leftfielder Vickash Ramjit lined an RBI single and third baseman Cody Dent provided a sacrifice fly.
LSU erupted for three runs in the fourth to expand the lead to 6-2. Catcher Jordy Snikeris and centerfielder Jared Foster provided back-to-back two-out singles, and they scored on Jones' double. Jones scored on an RBI single by third baseman Tyler Hanover.
The Gators took advantage of an LSU error to plate a run in the fourth, and added a run in the seventh on centerfielder Daniel Pigott's RBI single.
The Tigers expanded their lead to 7-4 in the eighth when Edward doubled, moved to third on first baseman Grant Dozar's bunt base hit and scored on Snikeris' sacrifice fly to left field.
The Gators narrowed the deficit to 7-6 in the eighth when Ramjit lined a two-run single.
LSU reliever Nick Goody held off the Gators in the ninth to earn his third save. Pigott led off the inning with a single and he moved to third when the throw to first on Casey Turgeon's sacrifice bunt was mishandled by Grant Dozar, giving Florida runners the corners with nobody out.
Goody fanned catcher Mike Zunino, but rightfielder Preston Tucker lifted a fly ball to deep right field that appeared would score the tying run on a sacrifice fly. However, Pigott failed to tag at third when rightfielder Mason Katz caught the ball, and the Gators stilled trailed by a run.
Goody then retired Johnson, batting as the designated hitter, on a foul ball behind the plate to end the game.